News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 5, 2018
Juilliard music expert advises volunteers at unique lending library

Juilliard music expert advises volunteers

Jane Gottlieb, Vice President for Library and Information Resources, left, paid a visit to the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, meeting with Executive Director Teresa Holum and offering advice and suggestions for the nonprofit.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

With more than 250,000 sheets of music available to be borrowed by anyone who requests it, the Bagaduce Music Lending Library has been providing what is considered a unique service, “unheard of anywhere else in the world,” for 35 years.

That may sound like an exaggeration, but for The Juilliard School of Music’s VP for Library and Information Resources, Jane Gottlieb, an expert of music libraries, BMLL is unlike anything she has come across before. Familiar with the town’s private chamber music school, Kneisel Hall, which has a Juilliard connection, Gottlieb made her second-ever trip to Blue Hill in June, meeting with BMLL executive director Teresa Holum and giving advice to its volunteers and board of directors.

“I had heard about this place over the years and was curious about how a lending library was supported and maintained in Maine,” said Gottlieb. “I am so impressed with its potential… and am not familiar with any other freestanding collection that actively lends this variety of material.”

Gottlieb spent 48 hours in Blue Hill and her last remaining few hours were spent speaking with the many volunteers of the organization. She gave advice about using the newly created performance space to tie in performances based on BMLL collections, urged the group to create a digital database of its offerings and to conduct an actual assessment of its overall collection. “There is joy in the discovery of actual sheet music. There is still value in touching it,” especially in an age where digital reproductions are increasing, she added.

The Bagaduce Music Lending Library was established in 1983 in the garage of a founding member. Over the years its collection has grown as has its need for space. In 2014 BMLL was gifted a building on South Street in Blue Hill by the Marville family and in 2017 that space, which includes a state-of-the-art performance space, opened to the public.

The site also includes a collaboration with the Native Gardens of Blue Hill where area plants and natural resources are on display.

Recent and rare additions to the collection include:

an ink copy of Carlos Salzedo’s harp masterpiece Chanson Dans La Nuit, in the composer’s handwriting and dated “July, 1927, Seal Harbor, Me.”

an ink copy of Carlos Salzedo’s A La Caserne, in the composer’s handwriting and dated “June 16th, 1934”

a First Edition of the book Plantation Melodies by Marshall W. Taylor, published in 1831

a First Edition of the book Seventy Negro Spirituals for High Voice, edited by William Arms Fisher, published by the Oliver Ditson Company in 1926

the book Devil’s Ditties, Stories of the Kentucky Mountain People and the Songs They Sing, by Jean Thomas, published in 1931

BMLL also hosts annual events such as the Young Composers Festival, now in its 22nd year, and the Blue Hill Pops concerts which begin in early July.

For information about BMLL visit or call 374-5454. The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.